With the Iraq War Over, Americans Wonder Whether It Was Worth It

Say what you will about President Obama or Bush, for our veterans who served in Iraq, neither President means a whole lot. Unless you served, specifically beyond the traditional forward operating base, very few will ever comprehend the mentality of the American warfighter. Well, here is a 101 introduction to the American combat veteran and some truth about the Iraq War.

First and foremost, do not think for one moment any U.S. service member voluntarily served in combat because they truly believed in the Iraq mission. To believe in the mission, you first must understand the mission. In Iraq, just like today’s fight in Afghanistan, very few, if any, tactical warfighters understood the mission.

Secondly, combat veterans could care less about who is in political office. Sure, we all have our individual political favorites, but when it comes down to what we do best, politicians are the last thing that comes to our mind. When they decide to come into our tactical areas of responsibility, we do care. We care so much about that typical “dog and pony show” our commanders make us partake in that we pray the enemy engages our tactical battle space during such times simply to get the politicians the hell out! As they leave, we pray that they remember what they saw so they can go back to Congress and request some decent pay raises for us.

Thirdly, while media war commentators attempt to portray the war to the best of their ability, they can never truly portray reality. Reality is not just something you read, hear, or see on the news. Reality entails all the senses. No media outlet will ever be capable of depicting what it feels like to squeeze the trigger of the M4 rifle, plugging your finger into the hole of a profusely bleeding out casualty, hearing the agonizing cries of the aftermath stemming from an IED or smelling the gunpowder from the heavy weapon rocking and rolling its rounds into a nearby building. The media did a good job, but never came close to depicting reality of the Iraq war.

Lastly, for those who fail to grasp why anyone would ever voluntarily leave family for months on end, leave the luxuries of their own home and leave everything behind, just look at fraternities and sororities in university settings. Think of that brotherhood or sisterhood and multiply by a hundred. After you do that, you’re still not even close to understanding the brotherhood and sisterhood obtained by the combat veteran.

So while all the citizens of the United States ponder whether or not the Iraq War was worth the cost, to the combat service warrior, the answer is yes, it was. Just serving alongside a brother or sister in such a capacity made everything worth the war. The American lives lost were not lost in vein. They were lost for the sake of the brotherhood and the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice shall not be forgotten by those of us who served alongside them in Iraq or elsewhere.

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